Audemars Piguet has updated its 2009 Millenary Chronograph with a 2010 model that now offers a lot more appealing color scheme. Besides the new colors, the 2010 MY model sports the same off-centered dial with an extravagant combination of Roman numerals for the main dial and Arabic numerals for the tachymetric scale.
First presented at SIHH 2009, the original Millenary chronograph was available in a combination of chocolate brown tachymetric scale, black chronograph section with silvered totalizers, and then again brown inner dial segment. The contrasting blue and rose-gold-colored numerals finished the picture. Disgusting, wasn’t it?
The new iteration has the main color scheme changed. Now, it is the anthracite black, silver, and then again black for the outer, middle, and inner parts of the case respectively. The Latin numerals of the main dial remain rose gold (that slightly decreases the contrast, but I could live with that) but the Arabic numerals are (finally!) white. The chronograph central second hand now also features the de facto standard bright-red color.
The dial is still a bit difficult to read, especially when you are not used to it, but that’s the price you have to pay for a watch that looks different from the rest of the crowd. Luckily, they have applied thin strips of Superluminova on the hour and minute hands so that this dressy, yet somewhat eccentric timepiece could be more legible at night.
The self-winding Caliber AP 2385 that powers this beautiful specimen is not an in-house job, but rather a redecorated version of the well-known Frederique Piguet 1185 automatic chronograph movement. Originally introduced back in the late 1980s, the caliber has a reputation as a reliable and well-designed engine that many “premium” brands love so much. If you are into AP’s Royal Oak collection, you have possibly already faced this little wonder many times.
The mechanism is hidden behind a solid 18-karat rose gold case back cover, which is a pity since the mechanism is so well-crafted. Perhaps, the reason here is that, unlike, say, their Millenary 4101 collection that features a bespoke oval-shaped movement that nicely fits the similarly shaped case, this one is a mass-produced, circular-shaped job that doesn’t look quite home in its ovoid case.
Being whole 47 millimeters wide, about 42 millimeters high, and almost 13 mm thick, this is a massive watch. However, I would say that it still feels comfortable on a wrist when you get used to its dimensions and weight.
Compared to a normal round body, this one will feel better if you strap it a bit higher on your wrist, but at least you will finally lose that white strip on your hand, right?
The controls are, as usual, deliciously easy to operate. The chronograph push-pieces are pleasant to touch with one’s fingers and you actually feel how well-made this mechanism is while actuating and stopping the chronograph function. The notched crown with the usual “AP” inscription is large enough even for guys with thick fingers to feel comfortable with.
Together with a matt-brown crocodile strap, the Millenary looks well-balanced and even elegant, while maintaining its sporty character, as it should have been from the very beginning.
See also: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Don Ramon de la Cruz (refs. 26192OR.D0801CR.01 & 26287OK.ZZ.D081CR.01)
Photos: Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet Millenary Chronograph specification
Price range: MSRP $43,000
Movement: Caliber AP 2385 (base FP 1185), automatic, 5.5 mm high, 26.2 mm in diameter, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 37
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Complications: Chronograph, date
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Transparent back: No, solid, engraved
Dimensions: 47.00 x 42.00 mm
Case height: 12.60 mm
Dial: Black and silver
Numerals: Arabic and Roman
Hands: Rose gold
Strap: Crocodile leather
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflection coated
Water resistance: 20 meters